Showing posts with label Russell Bellomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russell Bellomy. Show all posts

Positional Breakdown: Quarterbacks

Saturday, March 2, 2013




Key members: Devin Gardner (SR?), Russell Bellomy (RS SO), Shane Morris (FR)

What we know: It's pretty clear that Devin Gardner has the starting QB position locked down. His performance and ability to run the offense was more often than not impressive. With Denard Robinson's presence on the field and the need to feed him the ball gone, this is 100% Devin's team. Gardner has the abilities to stretch the play with his legs and is a very capable passer, as we saw many times during the season last year. Though we have seen stranger things happen, spring/fall practices could have a major impact on who starts. With that being said, Hoke has proved time and time again that the best players take the field, no matter the class standing. We could see something similar to a Henne situation his freshman year. Henne wins the battle because of a Gutierrez injury in camp, and we all know what happened with Henne after that. Until Hoke says so, we will assume that Gardner is the man at the helm of this offense.

Is this Gardner's last year?: Will Gardner's medical redshirt become a distraction? This question will be looming all season as Gardner's medical redshirt status has yet to be announced. We might only see Gardner become a full-time starter for only one season compared to two years. That could be a critical blow considering the QB's behind Gardner have very little experience and will have to be thrown to the wolves. This situation will be examined closely throughout the season.

Do you RS Morris?: This is also a very interesting topic as a dependable backup has yet to be established. The Bellomy experiment didn't exactly work out against Nebraska and it wasn't his fault. No one expected Robinson to get hurt, that was Bellomy's first in-game experience of actual minutes. The past is the past. Is Bellomy capable of being a backup? Or is Morris too talented to sit? These questions will be answered during camp but red shirting Morris doesn't sound like a bad idea. Shelving Morris for a year would allow him to work on learning the offense, working on mechanics and other skills necessary to becoming a Michigan quarterback. Let's play the devil's advocate, what if someone gets hurt? Depth is a serious issue with the QB's, especially if someone goes down. Gardner is the only QB with considerable experience, would you sacrifice a RS year so Morris can be a backup? It's a risk you may or may not have to take. Like I said before, it all depends on what happens during camp.

What to Expect?: Gardner is the starter, there's no doubt about it. I expect him to have a solid year at quarterback. Gardner had a favorite target in Jeremy Gallon and I expect more of the same to continue. Since Michigan finally has a QB that is capable of delivering the deep ball, I expect the offense try to push the offense deeper downfield with longer passes to Gallon and other athletic receivers Michigan has on roster. I think it is reasonable to say that Gardner can see some All-Big Ten honors come his way at the end of year, though which team will remain to be seen. I think it's a bit early and a touch unrealistic to deem him "Heisman worthy". But, the sky is the limit for him.

Reasonable Stats: I think it's safe to say that Gardner could throw for at least 2200+ and around 20+ TD's (Which puts him in line with other past Michigan QB's). Gardner can and will expose the lesser defenses with ease. His athletic ability on the ground will also aid him as well. 500 yards on the ground and at least 5 TD's is a very real possibility. The coaching staff knows that Gardner isn't Denard and designed rushing plays don't have to be as frequent as years past. With that being said, Gardner will be able to pick up his own yards if plays break down and he sees openings.

Deebo Knows: QB Controversy? NO, STOP IT!

Monday, November 5, 2012

ATTENTION ARMCHAIR QBS, COACHES, ATHLETIC DIRECTORS, ETC: There is no quarterback controversy at the University of Michigan!

Please take the time to read that once more, and maybe a few more times to let it sink in. I'm serious. Read it as many times as it takes for you to fully grasp those words that are written clearly and concisely in the English Language. It is the only language I am capable of speaking and writing in (even though I know very basic Spanish and some cuss words in Italian) so there should be no confusion here.

Okay, if you're still puzzled let me spell it out further. Ready?

For the remainder of the 2012 season, when Michigan's senior quarterback, Denard Robinson, is healthy enough to play he will be, and SHOULD BE, the starting quarterback for the Wolverines, and Devin Gardner will remain the backup. There is no controversy, discussion, second-guessing, wiggle room, ambiguity, or two ways about it. Enough. Stop with the nonsense.

Yes, Devin Gardner was a 5-star recruit and the #1 dual-threat QB coming out of high school and he sure looked the part on Saturday. Not to diminish Gardner's accomplishments on Saturday but they did play the Minnesota Golden Gophers who don't exactly tout a defense that draws comparisons to the '85 Bears.

And yes, Hoke said in his Monday presser that the offense we saw on Saturday was more of the pro-style Al Borges will run starting next year and Gardner ran it well. He appears to be more of the "traditional QB" mold and a better passer than Robinson.

All that is great, but Denard will still be the starter for the rest of the season as he should be. This supposed "QB controversy" is simply another case of the backup QB, goalie, etc. being the most popular guy in town and fans overreacting to the point of ridiculousness.

Robinson may not be the ideal QB that everyone, including the coaching staff, wants to see under center for U-M. However, the fact remains that he is still one of the, if not the, most dangerous player in all of college football. He has not put up the gaudy statistics, broken records, led dramatic comebacks, etc. by luck. He is a very good football player who makes plays and knows how to win football games. Oh yeah, he has also started every game the last three years up until Saturday. One good performance by Gardner is not enough to wipe that away nor should it blind us all as to how special of a player Denard Robinson truly is.

Let's not overlook the fact that Robinson IS the Michigan rushing attack which is why he accounts for over 75% of the team's offense. He's accomplished that by playing QB, not RB, WR, or anything else.

We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the RBs and the OL are struggling and Robinson is the only ball carrier who has proven that he can overcome those shortcomings. With that said, stop and think before you speak when you suggest he should be moved to RB or WR for the rest of his college career. If that move was to be made it would've been done either before last season or before this season at the latest. You don't make drastic position changes like that nine games into the season unless your team is desperate and does not have anything left to play for. Michigan is not one of those teams. Enough with the charade.

Look, what Devin Gardner did on Saturday was very encouraging and comforting for the future. If Denard is held out of games at any point during the rest of the season we now know that Team 133 has a very capable backup. That is a complete 180-degree turnaround from the sentiment we all felt after the Nebraska debacle. But that is as far as it goes, at least for the 2012 season.

As for next year, the optimism is completely different. Denard Robinson, for better or for worse depending on which fan(s) you speak to, will have graduated. Now you can talk all day about Devin Gardner being your starting quarterback. After Saturday's performance you would have to believe it may very well be his job to lose. He has the size, the arm strength, and overall ability to be very effective in a pro-style offense and he certainly can make things happen with his feet if things break down in the pocket. Saturday may have been a bit of a glimpse of what 2013 will look like and that is very exciting.

Notice I did not mention incoming 5-star recruit Shane Morris as being thought about as next year's starter. That is because if you think that is a good idea you really don't know much about football. Not trying to be a (insert expletive-filled insult here) but it's the truth. You do not start a true freshman at QB at a program that has championship aspirations unless you either have no other feasible option or said freshman completely blows away the other candidates.

For every Chad Henne there are about a gazillion Jimmy Clausens. Keep in mind Henne had Edwards, Avant, and Breaston to throw to, Hart in the backfield, and a very talented and experienced OL. Morris will not have those luxuries. Let the senior Gardner lead the team for a year, Bellomy play the role of backup, and let the talented 18-year old redshirt and learn for a year.

Don't agree with me, go back and watch some Jimmy Clausen highlights (if there even is any) from his freshman year at Notre Dame. He was the top QB recruit and looked like a deer in headlights all season long. Not pretty. Basically, chill out with the Morris for Heisman 2013 campaign. This is not Xbox.

To get back on track, the moral of the story is that if you are one of those fans that have been screaming from the mountain tops since around 3:00 PM on Saturday that Devin Gardner should start over Denard Robinson save your breath. It ain't happening. The coaches have said as much and they are right. Michigan will be just fine with "Shoelace" under center and will more than likely be fine next year with Gardner, not Morris, as the man. Enjoy the rest of the season and the rest of Denard Robinson's last year at Michigan...as the starting quarterback.

**You can also find this blog, as well as blogs regarding ALL DETROIT SPORTS, at www.deeboknows.blogspot.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @adamdibart.**

Deebo Knows: Bellomy Should Not Be Judged By Nebraska Game

Monday, October 29, 2012

There is no denying that Team 133 will only go as far as a healthy Denard Robinson will take them.  That was made perfectly clear after "Shoelace" was knocked out of the game in the 2nd quarter of Michigan's loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday with a nerve injury to his throwing elbow.

Enter 2nd string QB, and possible 2013 starter, Russell Bellomy...a redshirt freshman...in Lincoln Nebraska...under the lights...in a crucial divisional matchup.

In a situation like this as a fan you take a big gulp and know disaster lies ahead.  Bellomy's final numbers were of Armageddon proportions:
  • PASSING ACCURACY - 3/16
  • PASSING YARDS - 38
  • INT - 3
  • TD - 0
  • RUSHING YARDS - 0 (Multiple sacks nullified the yardage he gained on 5 carries)
He didn't have have much help as his receivers dropped a handful of passes, he was under duress by the Nebraska pass rush, and the RBs continued to contribute next to nothing, but the numbers are still ghastly no matter how you slice it.  Subsequently U-M suffered a 23-9 defeat and failed to score an offensive TD for the 2nd straight week.

There is always doom and gloom after a Wolverine loss but this week was a little different.

"Russell Bellomy is a terrible QB!"

"We're screwed next year because we have no QB!"

"Shane Morris is going to have to start as a true freshman!"

"Fire Al Borges!"

"FIRE BRADY HOKE! (Yes, I did indeed see this on Twitter)

Look, I was just as angry and frustrated as anyone and entertained some doom and gloom myself...FOR THIS SEASON.

Once I had the opportunity to cheer myself up by watching some Seinfeld and think logically, I was able to put things in the proper perspective.  Bellomy is a redshirt freshman with minimal game experience who was thrown into a snake pit and asked to win a crucial game with very little help.  I am not sure what everyone was expecting.  I would think that nine out of ten QBs would struggle in that scenario.  Give the kid a break.

Was I a little shocked that he wasn't a little more game ready? 

Yep.

Do I think some of it falls on Al Borges and the offensive coaches to ensure that they have a QB ready to go in and at least be serviceable?

Since they have a running QB who gets pounded every game and has a history of getting banged up you're darn tootin' I do.

But let's get things straight, this was a kid thrown into a situation where the odds were severely against him.  His future career at U-M should not be judged or speculated upon based off of one underwhelming performance in which he was asked to do the unthinkable.  People who think his career will be defined by what happened on Saturday need to scale back on the caffeine and/or narcotics a smidge.

Once the season is finished his mindset, as well as the mindset of the coaches, will completely change.  He will be preparing, mentally and physically, to be the starting QB at the University of Michigan.  Not the backup.  He will be prepared by the coaching staff, mentally and physically, to be the starting QB at the University of Michigan, or at least compete for the spot.  Not to be the backup.  The offense will shift from the spread to more of a pro-style, Al Borges' preference, to adhere to his skill set.  He will be more equipped to be a serviceable, and who knows, maybe even a pretty good starting signal-caller for the Wolverines. 

I don't have a crystal ball but I am pretty certain that given the reps and the opportunity next season, he will prove that he is not nearly as bad as he appeared in Lincoln.  He would not have been recruited by the coaching staff if he was and there is a reason he is #2 on the depth chart.  They are the same coaches that get praised daily for their recruiting prowess so I think we can safely say Bellomy was not brought in by throwing darts at a dartboard.  Chill out people.

Also, those of you who think Shane Morris is going to come in as an 18-year old freshman and take the starting spot are nuts.  I can't put it any other way.  You saw what happens on Saturday when you put a kid in at QB before he's ready...disaster.  As talented as Morris may be he will still be a freshman. 

You don't start a frosh at QB unless you absolutely have to.  And if that is indeed the case you'd be extremely naive and borderline crazy to think Morris will come in and be lights out and lead Team 134 to a B1G title.  This ain't the MAC or Conference USA.  It's the B1G and you don't ask a kid to lead a big time program into places like East Lansing and Iowa City.  At least at Michigan you don't.  Chad Henne was the exception not the rule.  He also had Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, and Jason Avant to throw to and Mike Hart in the backfield.  Enough with the Shane Morris talk people.  At least until 2014.

If you want to worry about what might happen this season if Denard Robinson can't stay healthy then fine.  Believe me, I'm right there with you.  But when it comes to next season let's all just relax and trust the coaches to have the starting QB, presumably Russell Bellomy, ready to run the offense smoothly.  Give a very good staff the benefit of the doubt and step away from the ledge.

Team 133 is in the middle of a battle for a division title.  They are undoubtedly focused on just that and not next season.  I suggest the fans follow suit.

**You can also find this blog, as well as blogs regarding ALL DETROIT SPORTS, at www.deeboknows.blogspot.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @adamdibart.**

 

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